building email listHow do you go about building an email list?

Firstly, remember that steadily and sensibly is the way to build a quality email list that will provide you with a database of potential customers to sell, resell and upsell as well as act as brand ambassadors. Enthusiasm is great but a list grown too fast is more likely to do your brand harm than good if it hasn’t been built properly. Your reputation with Email Service Providers (ESP’s) is vital and this relies on people who want, open and read your emails. So think quality not quantity and you will reap the rewards you want from email.


Look at different sources for list subscribers (and keep a record in the database of where they originated from).

  • Use your social network pages (facebook, google+, linked in) to drive people to your page, promoting the sign up page in wall posts as well as in your information. Create interest by providing teasers in your posts about offers to be sent by email
  • What other promotions or communication channels could you utilise to promote your emails – newspapers, SMS at events, call centres (or your own receptionist)
  • Cross promote your newsletter with partners in complimentary business area
  • If you have a mobile app, ask new downloaders to provide their email address or offer social registration so you can get their email address and permission
  • Check-in’s (on foursquare or facebook) . Register your business location on Foursquare and you can create programs that ask visitors to register via their Facebook or Foursquare account. You’ll then have access to their email address and can contact them with special offers
  • QR codes at tradeshows, enable potential clients to use their smartphones to give you their email address quickly (ensure the landing page is touchscreen friendly)
  • Blogs can be used to promote your email sign up and also ensure you cross promote content between your blog and email newsletters
  • Consider a loyalty scheme to incentivise brand advocates to get friends to sign up such as vouchers, whitepapers or product trials

Sign up process

Keep the sign up process short and sweet, and make sure you only collect information you can use to provide relevant content. Asking for an address or phone number (certainly as a required field) is generally unnecessary and will probably turn people off.

Be clear about what people are getting and how often. Also think about the language you use and make sure they know what benefits they’ll get (special offers, previews, exclusive content etc).

Welcome people to your program with an email that either sends some exclusive content (whitepaper or discount code for example). This also helps with deliverability.

And Finally…

Don’t forget about the hole at the bottom of your bucket as well. Average unsubscribe rates in EMEA are 0.21% (Silverpop 2012 Benchmarking study) and there are measures you can take to minimise these. Make sure you are delivering what people expect when they sign up in terms of frequency and content. If your spam rate is high then people have a fundamental lack of trust in your unsubscribe process or cannot find your unsubscribe button. Neither is good news as this will damage your relationship with email service providers.

Julie Joseph is owner of JJ Consulting. She has 20 years sales and marketing experience including 15 years focused on Digital Marketing. She has worked with clients across many sectors including major players from Media, Retail, Transport and Finance and presented at various industry events. Please see for more information.